Focus on Flexibility
Flexibility takes lots of work and determination. Follow these tips, focus on your flexibility, and you'll improve your Cheerleading.
It doesn't take long to figure out flexibility plays a major role in Cheerleading. Just watch any Cheerleader perform a jump, do a high kick or slide down into the splits and the fact that flexibility is important to the sport becomes very obvious. So any time spent on flexibility will definitely improve your Cheerleading. Focus on your flexibility.
What is Flexibility?
Flexibility is the ability of a joint to move in a full range of motion. It is the ability to stretch your arms, legs, and other joints of your body. It is also the elasticity of the muscles and ligaments surrounding the joint. Stretching improves flexibility.
Why Become More Flexible?
The benefits of improving your flexibility are many. Here are just a few good reasons:
- Flexibility improves your performance. When a joint is flexible it will take less energy to move it in a greater range of motion.
- Prevents injury and soreness. Stretching improves muscular balance and relaxation and also decreases the resistance of your tissues, therefore you are less likely to become injured or sore.
- Flexibility (stretching) increases blood supply and nutrients to your joints and surrounding tissue. This in turn promotes greater elasticity and improved performance.
- Improves muscle coordination. Stretching improves the time a nerve impulse takes to travel to your brain and back. This helps muscle groups to work together and improves coordination.
How To Increase Your Flexibility
There are two sayings that are you should keep in mind when trying to improve your flexibility. The first one is - "Use It or Lose It" - Your muscles, tendons and ligaments need a constant reminder of their ability to stretch. It is important to stretch all groups from your neck to your toes. And the second saying is - "Over Time, Not Overnight" - Increased flexibility takes time, it does not happen overnight. Work at it every chance you get, while you're watching TV, talking on the phone, reading a magazine, or sitting at your computer. Keep stretching. Here are some tips to keep in mind while stretching:
- Stretch every day, more if possible.
- Warm-up before you stretch. Never stretch a cold muscle.
- Stretch only to the point that you feel a tug. You should not feel pain and should never bounce.
- Hold each stretch 10 -30 seconds then relax and repeat. As you improve, take your stretch a little further, but never to the point of extreme pain.
- Always stretch both sides of your body in the same way and stretch all muscles groups (i.e. calf, hamstrings, arms, shoulders, groin).
- Breathe correctly. Exhale as you begin your stretch and then relax and breath normally. Do not hold your breath while stretching or tense up. Relax and concentrate.